Corinthians conceded a goal in the first minute, faced an absurd amount of pressure, but the crossbar and Cássio secured the qualification in penalties for the Sudamericana semifinals.
Estudiantes 1×0 Corinthians
After winning the first match 1-0 at the Neo Química Arena, Corinthians had the mission of holding onto the result to secure qualification. However, just 52 seconds into the game, Estudiantes opened the scoring. Sosa collected the loose ball in the midfield, crossed it to Castillo, Bruno Méndez cleared it to the middle of the box, and Mauro Méndez struck it first-time. The shot was mishit, but it deflected off Veríssimo and caught Cássio off guard, leaving no chance for a save.
At the 9th minute, Benedetti penetrated the left side of the box and delivered a cross to Rollheiser, who struck it beautifully on the first touch, saved by Cássio.
At the 29th minute, Macuso’s cross found Carillo unmarked in the box, but his header lacked power and went straight to the goalkeeper.
At the 37th minute, Corinthians was, for the first time, “saved” by the post. Rollheiser crossed into the box, and the ball fell to Benedetti, who took a first-time shot that hit the left post like a cannonball. In the following minute, Rollheiser advanced from the right, evaded two defenders, and hit the left post once again.
The pressure was surreal, and fueled by their fans, the hosts kept attacking, while Corinthians hardly crossed the midfield throughout the entire first half.
At the 40th minute, Rollheiser carried the ball again with space, set it up for his left foot, and placed a low shot from outside the box, saved once again by Cássio.
In the first half, the home team dominated the stats, firing 16 shots compared to Corinthians’ 1.
In the second half, Corinthians showed a slight improvement, becoming a more competitive side, yet Estudiantes continued to control the game.
At the 56th minute of the second half, Benedetti took a long throw into the box, Veríssimo attempted a headed backpass to Cássio, who cleared it with a punch. The rebound fell to Rollheiser in the box, who struck it first-time, but Cássio performed a miracle and deflected it onto the post. In the subsequent rebound, Estudiantes’ number 10 sent the ball wide.
At the 57th minute, Mancuso crossed from the right, Rollheiser found space between defenders and deflected it first-time, forcing Cássio to make a save, diving the other way.
At the 72nd minute, Ascacíbar received the ball unmarked and attempted a rocket from outside the box. The ball hit the post for the 4th time.
In injury time, Corinthians created their only dangerous opportunity. Giuliano received the ball at the edge of the midfield, dribbled past defenders twice, and curled a shot from outside the box. However, the ball curved wide and missed the goal.
In the penalty shootout, Cássio was decisive as usual, saving Rollheiser’s penalty. Lollo and Ascacíbar hit the post, and Corinthians secured their spot in the Sudamericana semifinals.
The Timão will face either Fortaleza or América-MG in the semifinal.
Photo: Rodrigo Coca/Agência Corinthians
Internacional 2×0 Bolívar
Enner Valencia scores twice as Inter reaches a Libertadores semifinal after 8 years.
After the 1-0 victory at high altitude, the Colorado began the game controlling the actions and setting the pace of the match. It created chances from Bolívar’s errors in ball distribution.
At the 10th minute, Wanderson intercepted a pass from Bentaberry, accelerated, and penetrated the area from the left side, passed to Enner Valencia, who found himself free to open the scoring at Beira-Rio.
At the 18th minute, Maurício came close to scoring the second. The midfielder received from Alan Patrick in the box, turned, and hit the side netting.
At the 24th minute, Enner Valencia received a through ball, found himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper, and converted. However, after a millimetric offside check, it was confirmed that the Ecuadorian was ahead of the defender.
Inter continued to dominate, creating the best opportunities. At the 39th minute, following a good team move, Maurício entered the box, evading two defenders, but his shot lacked power and went straight to the center of the goal.
In the second half, at the 54th minute, Maurício received a pass from Bustos on the right side and shot across the goal.
Colorado extended their lead at the 59th minute. Enner Valencia received a pass from Alan Patrick on the left wing, easily bypassed the defender, and unleashed a powerful shot into the corner.
Bolívar had a chance to reduce the deficit as, after a VAR consultation, the referee pointed to the penalty spot, as the ball had struck Nico Hernández’s arm. In the penalty kick, Ronnie Fernández struck low to the left corner, but Rochet dove and held onto the ball.
With the qualification, Inter will face Olímpia or Fluminense in the Libertadores semifinal.
Photo: Jefferson Botega/ Agência RBS
Written by Henry Miller.